Egyptian archaeologists have discovered 17 mummies in the country's Minya province

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered 17 mummies in the country's Minya province

Kholi said this was an unprecedented discovery as it was "the first human necropolis found in central Egypt with so many mummies". Khaled al-Anani, the Antiques Minister, said the because of the way that the mummies have been preserved, it most likely means that they are officials or priests.

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered 17 mummies in catacombs in central Egypt, antiquities ministry announced on Saturday.

The discovery was made in the village of Tuna el-Gabal, a vast archaeological site on the edge of the western desert.

The Touna el-Gabal site dates back to the Greco-Roman period between the third century BC and third century AD.

An ancient burial was at a depth of about eight meters under the ground.

A team from Cairo University supervises the mission of the new discovery.

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Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany described the discovery as important because it is the first made in the area since the discovery of the birds and animals necropolis by Egyptologist Sami Gabra between 1931 to 1954.

"2017 has been one of the landmark years for archaeological discoveries in Egypt", al-Enany said at a press conference in Minya.

Archaeologists across the country have excavated a slew of relics in recent months.

Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed said last month the new finds could boost tourist arrivals this year to about 10 million, an improvement from the 9.3 million visitors that came in 2015 but still far below the 14.7 million from 2010. Figures from 2016 are not yet available.

The find is the latest in a number of discoveries that officials hope will help revive the struggling tourism industry.

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